The history of Saint-Emilion wines is ancient.
The first vineyards appeared there in the 1st century BC. As for the exceptional quality of the wines, it is recognized during the 18th century. In 1867, the wines of Saint-Emilion were awarded a gold medal at the Universal Exhibition, followed by the highest distinction, the Grand Prix Collectif de l' Exposition Universelle of 1889.
The first classification of Saint-Emilion wines by the Institut National des Appellations d' Origine (AOC) took place in 1954, when four appellations were defined. Their number was later reduced to two - Saint-Emilion and Saint-Emilion Grand Cru - in 1984.
A first-class tourist site, with an average of 1,000,000 visitors, Saint-Emilion has an important monumental ornament (Hermitage, monolithic church, collegiate church, palace of the archbishops, fortifications, catacombs, private mansions...) which is declined according to tortuous alleys (called tertres) and shaded plots, and enjoys the fame of its oenological heritage.
The medieval city and its "jurisdiction" has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1999. It is "an outstanding example of a historical wine-growing landscape which survived intact" and "an outstanding example of the intensive cultivation of wine vines in a precisely delimited area" (criteria for inscription in the cultural landscape category adopted by Unesco in December 1999).
The Collegiate Church
The collegiate church is one of the jewels of the medieval city of St. Petersburg.
Emilion. Built between the 12th and 16th centuries, it is one of the most imposing churches in Gironde (79 metres long). This building housed the college of Augustine Canons until the Revolution. Its architecture, composed of Romanesque and Gothic elements, bears witness to numerous alterations. This building has certain characteristics of the Perigord Romanesque style, notably its two cupolas on pendants which are the vaults of its second and third bays. Its choir is a fine example of the flamboyant gothic style. The collegiate church is also noteworthy for its vestiges of historical and ornamental mural paintings, its stained-glass windows, and its partly protected furniture consisting of Gothic stalls, statues and paintings; and of a 19th century organ.
The monastery of the Jacobins, now the Dominicans' hall, was the most important of the monasteries large convent of Saint-Emilion in surface area. Dating from the end of the 14th centurycentury, it later became a bell factory. It is still possible to admire thebeautiful gate late XIVth - early XVth century of the chapel with its elegant windowsand its elegant pillars supporting the broken arches separating the naves.
The monolithic church
It is an XIth century church, entirely dug in the rock and its construction required the extraction of nearly 15000m3 of rock. It has six bays separated by large monolithic pillars.
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